J.B.’Author Interview with Paul White

 

IN THIS BRAND NEW SERIES (J.B.’S AUTHOR INTERVIEW SERIES) I’LL BE INTRODUCING YOU TO SOME OF THE FINEST AUTHORS AROUND. YOU’LL GET A PEEK INSIDE THEIR MIND AND THEIR PROCESS.

 

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Today I meet Paul White. 

J.B. Taylor – What inspires you?

Paul White – Wow, what an interesting opening question. There are so many things that kick start my imagination. A picture, a smell, a sound, a partly overheard conversation, clips from a film, a scene from a television drama.
One of my favorite sources is the radio, I listen to Radio four, a BBC station it has wonderful interviews covering a myriad of topics from the arts to medicine and world affairs. I often listen to this station when I am driving and, besides the road, there is nothing else to distract you from listening. It is surprising how many ideas can come out of a twenty minute drive!

 

J.B. Taylor – What’s your favorite book?

Paul White – Another unanswerable question! I have so many books I love and all for different reasons.
I will give you two. I read both when I was a young man and both have stayed with me over the ensuing years, so I take that resonation to be a sign that they are special books.

The first is ‘Down by the Dockside’ written by Deirdre Cash under her pseudonym Criena Rohan. It is about a plucky, literate girl who grows up in poverty in Port Melbourne during the Depression, marries a sailor during the war and loses him in a fight at Christmas in 1946, teaches dance and consorts with the criminals her childhood pals have become, it’s a lively and endearing tale of Australia in the 1930s and 1940s.

The second is Do Not Go Gentle by David MacCuish.
The book focuses on Norman MacLeod, growing up in the tough Depression-era town of Butte, Montana.
After his father succumbs to a mining-related disease, young Norman leaves school and also begins working in the copper mines. Following the death of his closest friend in a mine accident and the moving of his mother and sister to relatives back East, Norman enlists in the Marines.
The book follows MacLeod through boot camp, life on and off base, and then to the South Pacific where MacLeod and his fellow Marines face both their fears and the Japanese.
On leave in the U.S., Norm visits the wife of a killed comrade, and begins a relationship with her. Filled with gritty scenes and no-holds-barred dialog,
I think Do Not Go Gentle is a minor classic in the field of novels about men at war and the effect it has on families and communities.

Ok, so that was longwinded, but you asked!

 

J.B. Taylor – If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?

Paul White – Park it up and slowly eat my way through the contents!

 

J.B. Taylor – Where do you like to write?

Paul White – Anywhere I can get my head down and concentrate without too many interruptions. I have an office at home, but a café, hotel lobby or gardens can be good too.

 

J.B. Taylor – Which Harry Potter house would you belong to?

Paul White – Never read Harry Potter, not seen the films either…am I the only one?

 

J.B. Taylor – What is your favorite word?

Paul White – That changes frequently, however at the moment it is however. However, that may change soon!

 

J.B. Taylor – What is your least favorite word?

Paul White – Hate. It is overused in general conversation and rarely is its true definition realized by the speaker. In writing however, (did you see what I just did there!) there are no bad words, just words.

 

J.B. Taylor – What was the first story you ever wrote, and what happened to that story?MiriamsHexL

Paul White – My first true story, a proper one with a beginning, middle & end, is Miriam’s
Hex
. There is a long back story about how I have come to resurrect Miriam’s Hex from a dusty box in the loft and have published it as an eBook novelette.

 

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The story of how that happened is included in a special edition of Miriam’s Hex, which is ONLY available directly from me…if you like would a copy just click on the link above!

 

 

J.B. Taylor – Tell us about your process: Pen, paper, word processor, human sacrifice … how do you write?

Paul White – Generally, I use a PC or Laptop and type directly into a word document.
But for making notes and writing ideas down I scribble into small pocket sized notebooks. I have several of these scattered about the house, the cars and in lots of jacket pockets.
Occasionally a notebook has been washed and tumble dried. Not good!

 

J.B. Taylor – What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer?

Paul White – Besides becoming a writer!

Paul White – Rushing out a book with over excitement and thinking that was it. You soon learn to take more care, get it edited correctly, re-write and tweak. Over and again if necessary. Doing things right pays dividends in the end.

 

J.B. Taylor – What else are you working on?

Paul White – I have a number of projects. There are three main ones. One of those I need to complete before…two of them I need to complete…in fact all three need to be completed before the others!

But…let me highlight the novel I am working on. It is called ‘Floyd’.

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Floyd is an escaped psychopath, a fugitive out on a mission of vengeance, against all those who were involved in having committed.
It is a thriller/slasher/ blood and gore story, BUT with human and emotional elements woven in between the main events, rather like sutures pulling a wound closed!

 

J.B. Taylor – In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?

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Paul White – I would love one of my books to become a movie, or my short stories a TV drama series, what a nice dream.
In that ideal world, I would love to use unknown people, maybe ones who have never acted before. Members of the public like you and I.
Imagine walking up to someone in the street, who catches your eye and asking if they would like the leading role in a new Hollywood or Pinewood movie! Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

 

J.B. Taylor – When you complete a story, do you let it go? Or do you like to stop and think about what your characters might be up to, what they might be doing?

Paul White – I used to just let it go, put it to bed as they say. (Whomever ‘they’ are?)
But now I leave it for a while, weeks, maybe a month or two. Then I return and read the work, making critical notes. That’s when the real nitty-gritty work starts.

 

J.B. Taylor – Are you a panster or an outliner?

Paul White – Oh, most definitely a panster! I write from the heart, from gut feelings with only the roughest skeleton of a premise. The story and the characters evolve with me, sometimes in spite of me, as the book progresses.

It is not until I am half, or more of the way through, do I lay out some formal course to the conclusion and, I only do that, because the second half of a book is far harder to write than the first.

Maybe I should write the end before the start next time around. Do you think that might work?


You can check out Paul’s books HERE

or, if you want to know more about the author, visit his website HERE 

 

 

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How to write better… by watching more movies.

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 I for one love to read ‘the book’ rather than watch ‘the movie’. The reason is, I want to let my own imagination create the world the book has drawn me into.

I want ‘that’ character to evolve as I see him or her; guided by the author’s words, yes. But I do not want it forced upon me, in such detail, there is no room for my own mind to fashion form.

The pity is, there is no choice when watching a movie. A film shows the actress’s face and how the character’s voice sounds.

There is very little left for one’s own imagination.

Yet, I have formed some of my [best?] writing techniques from watching movies. Well, not just movies but TV dramas, plays, even commercials. Almost anything, in fact, which contains moving images.

Now, you may think, from what I have written above, I am contradicting myself by making what seems, at least on a superficial level, contradictory statements.

So I shall, in my normal ‘Rambling’ way, try to convey exactly how watching moving images has enabled me to hone my skill as a writer of words.

It is mostly to do with the film’s editing, a lot to do with camera work and a bit to do with stealing the director’s viewpoint.

However, before I can start on that, I must tell you when I am watching a film or TV with a ‘writers eye,’ it is not the same as watching for enjoyment or pleasure. Even if sometimes I cannot help but notice things when I have no intention of thinking about writing. (But that is my cross to bear, not yours. At least not yet, not until you have finished reading this!)

 

Ok. The Director’s viewpoint. This is probably the most obvious, yet, in this great scheme of things, the least important.

Imagine the opening shot of a film scene.

The camera slowly pans across a room, it is dull. Dust mots hang in the air, highlighted by faint shafts of light streaming downwards through a window. As the camera pans the_room_is_dark_and_empty____just_like_me_by_potpoorri-d5pvf7b.pngfrom the window, a small figure of a young girl wearing a white cotton nightdress is revealed.

This is gold dust to me.

The scene, altered to suit my style and the storyline I am writing, is something I can use.

NO… this is not plagiarism.

I would not copy it, but use the imagery as a base to create my own, dull room in which I could slowly reveal a figure of… someone.

My room may be a log cabin, a large warehouse or a compartment in a submarine. The light source could be from a fireplace, daylight filtering through a damaged roof or the ‘red’ lighting used on ‘that’ submarine.

The figure I reveal may be an old man, a dead body lying on the cold concrete floor or maybe the ghostly spectre of an old sailor.

BUT…. all this has come to me from watching the opening shot of the movie; seeing it, not from the ‘viewer’s’ eyes, not as a member of the ‘audience’, but from my imaginary ‘director’s chair‘. To have an understanding of the atmosphere the director was trying to create when he shot the scene and how the darkness, the light and the slow reveal assisted him in conveying the mood and ambience to those watching.

Recognising the director’s intentions and methods, simply leaves me is to translate the scene, or my version of the scene, into words, imagining it over and over in my own mind like a movie, so as I write, the ambience and timing of my own story is just as cohesive to the reader.

 

Secondly. Camera work.

While the above scene clearly needed the aid of a camera to record the director’s instructions, all of the actual imagery in a film is down to how things enter the lens. Yes, some of this is to do with lighting and the type of film used, but here I am speaking of the camera alone.

Firstly, the angle, the position of the camera to its subject. Not forgetting its height. Generally, a low shot, ground level, is used to enhance the perception of speed. Think about car racing or chases. How the tyres almost run over the lens or rock the camera as the vehicles flash past. (Yes, depth of field and all that matters, but it is not important here).

4240A high shot, from a boom, tall building, a crane or drone, one which looks down on the subjects, can give expression of vastness, loneliness or being lost.

Next time you go to the movies take note of where the camera is situated to get ‘the shot’. I do, it enables me to hold the moment, the feeling of vastness or loneliness, in my mind while I write my next paragraph.

Reading my words back to myself, I am hoping they evoke the same feelings; if they do not conjure the right imagery, as when watching the film, I will re-write, over and over, until I get it right.

 

Lastly, but for me the most important, is the Editing.

Now, I am not talking about editing words, but editing film, which is a totally different beast.

I cannot help myself with this…

When I have my ‘writers head’ on, I am constantly, without any self-control, watching for the ‘cuts’. Often more intently than whatever I am viewing. I know it is sad, but it is the truth… maybe I do need to get out more?

For those of you who may not be familiar with the terminology,  a ‘cut’ is an abrupt, but usually trivial transition from one sequence to another, usually, without breaking the flow necessary to keep an audience engaged with the narrative.

Cuts are noticeable when two characters are holding a conversation. Each time one character speaks the viewer sees who is talking. So, say firstly you see a boy speaking. When he stops the girl starts to speak and you see her face. That change of viewpoint, from him to her, that is a cut.

In fast moving action scenes and in most advertising, where time is at a premium, you will see many ‘cuts’ per minute. Chances are you will not have been aware of them… until after you have read this, when you will be unable to watch anything without trying to count how many ‘cuts’ are involved, even in the simplest broadcast. (Sorry.)

I hear you asking, how the devil can that help me write better?

Truth is, it may not help you.

But it helps me. This is how I utilize ‘cuts’ when writing.

For this explanation assume I am writing an important part of my stories plot, one where I need to get the emotion and feeling soaking into my reader’s psyche. This is one part of my book where I must get the reader totally immersed in the story, where they must believe they are living in my fictitious world.

I have already written the basic scene, it is in outline form, a rough, very rough draft. Now I need to build it, develop it, into a masterpiece.

Going back, to the early shot of the young girl in the dull room. Let’s say the story is of a child longing for her dead mother’s return.

This time, instead of using the scene as an opening, we will use it as a scene somewhere within the depths of the book, a part which needs far more input to make it ring true.

It is here I will start bringing in those [film] ‘editing’ tricks.

I shall still start with the description of a dull room, but this time I will place the reader at a set viewpoint, say, they are looking into the room, through the doorway, from an even darker hallway.

Once the reader has that firmly in their mind, I will ‘cut’ the shot.

Now the reader is looking down from above. (Remember this viewpoint conjures a sense of loneliness and being lost). This allows me to ‘open up’ the scene, to use words which reinforce the atmosphere I am creating.

I will employ words which carry connotations and suggest the values I desire. In this instance that could be, “a heavy shadow” or possibly, “even the floorboards seemed to weep with sadness as I crossed the room.”

I want the reader to envisage a large empty room, a figure, the introduction of my second character, walking across it towards the young girl. I want the floorboards to creak, to give an impression of neglect, of loss or of foreboding. (This can be used as a form of foreshadowing.)

The words ‘heavy’ & shadow’ both work well individually and better in combination.  With ‘sadness and weep’ I manage to blend the sound of the floorboards as they are walked upon without saying ‘creek‘ or ‘crack‘, which are ‘harsh’ words and far too direct to covey the correct ‘mood’ in this scene.

Cut.

sophia_blog1Now I use a close-up of the young girl. For the first time, we see her face, the way the “sallow light settled on her fair skin” or “her pale blue eyes, damp with tears yet unformed.”

Again using simple words which are descriptive of the girl character, but also in the context and reinforcement of the mood of the scene.

Cut.

Now… the viewer sees both characters together, giving a juxtaposition of size and age, hints at the relationship between the two. One speaks to the other… Etc.

The second figure could be a sister, a social worker or nurse, maybe the step-mother or even the ghost of the girl’s maternal mother.

Cut.

Now the viewpoint is of both of them looking out of the room, into the darkness of the aforementioned ‘darker hallway’; they have just heard a noise… “their heads snapping around, towards the sound…”ZGPIAp

Cut…

This is how I write many of my scenes. by watching a movie inside my head, in the darkroom of my mind. Personally, I find it helps me construct a whole, comprehensive section of my plot. It stops me rushing, stops me skimming over sections which deserve more care.

Please note, when I say ‘viewpoint’ in this essay, I am not speaking of the ‘narrator’s viewpoint’, but that of my imaginary camera/ cameraman I carry within my mind. Sometimes this may be in harmony with the narrative viewpoint, but more often is not.

Mostly I write a complete scene from a number of these converging angles, such as in the brief example above. But the stories narrative perspective is kept constant.

This is not to say I do not need to edit or re-write, far from it, but each time I do, I use the same technique to make ‘tweaks’ until the scene works. Editing and re-writes purely allow you to correct the detail and flush out unnecessary and often misleading words and to hone the cutting edge of the stories mood.

This way of writing may not work for you. It may go against all you have learnt about writing, or just not suit your style.

But then again, it may be worth having a go, maybe a short story or even a piece of flash fiction to start with. You could even employ it to write an Electric Eclectic book, why not have a go?

Or maybe you are struggling with a scene or section of your work in progress and I have now come along with this amazing and brilliant idea, one which gives you the next international bestselling book this millennium, or a Booker prize-winning novel?

If this proves to be the case, please keep me in mind when you receive that big royalties cheque.

Honestly, I hope you can glean something from this Rambling, whatever it might be.


 I am, as always, open to feedback and comments.

Oh, if you have not done so yet, please ‘follow’ this blog.

Thanks for reading, Paul.

You can read some of my short stories HERE

or visit my website HERE

where you can see my books, my blogs and what I am getting up to right now.

Click on this cover

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Showcasing your work to the world

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I do not know why you write.

I am uncertain most of the time why I write.

Oh, I do not mean the writing I do as a job, My books, my novels and such. I know why I do that, it pays the bills  and keeps the wolf from the door… at least for now.

The writing I’m speaking of is this type, these Ramblings, my ‘Wild Geese’ travel blog, social media posts….all that hoo-ha. I certainly do not make any money from writing this stuff.

Sometimes, I think my posts simply evaporate into the ether of the net, floating around in cyberspace, like an errant satellite never to been seen again. That is, until twelve years in the future, some lost soul in Outer Mongolia ‘likes’ the post.

Hey… that’s two ‘likes’ in twelve years, for an absolutely brilliantly written essay regarding a major social event which touched everybody’s life at the time.

But don’t worry, because at the same time I posted a snapshot of my cat licking its tail, that got ten thousand ‘likes’ and half a million ‘shares’ in three days.

Does that mean I am now going to join in with the massed hordes of cat picture posters and give up writing constructive and entertaining articles?Dead cat 2

 

Not on your life. (Besides, my cat died last month

 

That lost soul in Outer Mongolia may have be the Dalai Lama on a pilgrimage, or a young American backpacker, one who is destined to become the president of the United States at some point.

Who knows?

What I am trying to say in my usual rambling manner, is I am a firm believer in the quality of those who ‘like’, ‘plus’ and ‘follow’ my writings.

I do not write purely to amass great numbers of ‘followers’ or ‘subscribers’ to my Blog’s or other media posts.

Yes, it is nice to see your numbers growing, it shows your work is appreciated. Which is one reason I use social media.

Yet, I would rather my work is respected by those who value the content and not just because the accompanying image caught their eye.

Another reason I write, is to introduce my books to those who may not know of them.

You see it takes a long, long time to take an idea of a story and turn it into a published book.

That is many months, if not years of hard graft. After which, it is an absolute shame to see it languishing on a shelf collecting dust, or hanging in cyberspace waiting to be downloaded by the Dalai Lama after his pilgramage and meeting that nice American chap.

Therefore, I mention my books on many occasions during my writings. I think it is the right thing to do, knowing when you, yes YOU, read them you will enjoy them, (so what are you waiting for….go buy one now.)

Then of course, there are the other reasons for writing. The main reasons for writing. 

Some find it a form of catharsis, allowing them to expel worries and anxieties. Some see it as sharing, a social form of interaction. For others it becomes a need, almost an addiction. Often it is a combination of all and more. The overwhelming must though, is the need to share, to have someone, somewhere to be reading our words.

Right now, it is possible that my novel, ‘The Abduction of Rupert DeVille is being read by someone lazing on a hot tropical beach in a faraway land, where the azure blue sea laps the golden sands of paradise, or by your sister as she sits, legs tucked beneath her, on her favourite chair sipping a hot chocolate and nibbling on digestive biscuits.

Who knows?

The main thing is that someone, somewhere is reading something I have written at some time.

Even if it is on a mountainside in Outer Mongolia.

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The Potala Palace

 

The point which I am attempting to convey, is to get the quality and quantity of people we, the writers and authors, need to read our work, we have to reach out and show our writing to the world.

With that in mind, I want to introduce to you to CQ International Magazine.

Okay, so many of you will know about the magazine, many however do not, while others have seen, but not looked, not read it and difinitley not showcased their work in it.

To keep it simple, CQ Magazine is a global, online periodical which is free, yes I said FREE, to read. It has built up a regular, loyal readership base in eighty countries.

CQ International Magazine is dedicated to promoting the indie world, that’s writers, authors, poets, artists, cover designers, ilustrators, musicians, designers, modlers, artisans, painters, sculptors, just about every artistic medium you can think of… and then some.

Recently, CQ International Magazine has launced the C-club, a simple, annual membership, which gives its members the opportunity for free promotion and marketing of their work in CQ International Magazine and to benifit from associated marketing.

Find out more by visiting the CQ Blog at, https://cqmagazineblog.wordpress.com/

Read the current edition of CQ International Magazine Here 

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Do not cry for us

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It is another late night.

I have taken myself off to bed once, but to no avail; sleep evades me, scurrying away into the darkness the moment my eyelids become heavy.

So, I return to the keyboard and start tapping away, to see what devils play within my mind tonight. Only it is no longer night, it is two-thirty in the morning.

Sometimes, this is when all the indiscriminate arbitrary concepts and vague notions I have considered during the days previous, formulate themselves into a cohesive interrelated and reasonably logical order, thus forming a coherent chain of words, which when read back, actually convey my original inspiration and intention to the reader.

This period, at least for myself, generally occurs at arbitrary times. It is haphazard, irregular and unselective. Although these late nights, these solitary, unsocial and introverted hours are those that commonly prove the most creatively productive.

In the morning, (read later today), after and eventually, I have achieved some sleep, I shall present myself to the world in a fashion that shall cause the casual observer to regard me as introverted and unsociable.

Although this would not be my elected preference, I cannot chastise those who would consider me as such, because I know I shall be ruminating and deliberating over the words I have written tonight and, as such, my demeanour shall convey my meditation as distant and antisocial.

This is a burden carried upon the shoulders of many, if not all, creative writers.

The creativity and ingenuity required to conjure fictional lives from the rawness of neural pathways, to weave nether worlds from mere suggestion, or pen flowing poetry which stirs passions of the heart and excites emotion, thrives best when it is born from the isolated world of the solitary writer.

Distraction is a temporary remedy, a partial relief of this symptomatic characteristic trait. However, there is no cure. This is the writer’s curse.

Do not cry for us.

This is our choice, our drug of life which brings its own highs, begets its rewards in other forms of alternate kinds.

Satisfaction and stimulation of your mind, your heart and your soul is our reward.

To tease and toy with your emotions until you lose, for those moments, your sense of the world around you and escape into ours, into our fictitious realm, our domain of narrative legend.

That is our reward, our incentive and our recompense.

Thank you for reading, Paul White.


You can find a great selection of amazing reads all in one special Amazon store specially designed for you, the avid reader.

@open24 has books from Electric Eclectic, Dragonfly books, Crimson Cloak publishers and me, Paul White, along with a great selection of children’s books and a wonderful choice of gifts for readers and authors.

Check out @open24 now

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